I am trying so hard
to not let you
be a toxic relationship.
Should not be my responsibility
I don't want to tug-of-war
over weather I should just
be your girlfriend
or if I should be your mother
You don't need another mother
You have the right to do what you want
when you want
Because you're an adult
But I can not let you
As an excuse
to let yourself go
I can not let you
Let this relationship become toxic
I wish that I could
And I've honestly tried
But for me to just watch you ignore your priorities
in order to spend time with me
or goof off next to me
If I could do that
if I could just let you do that
That would mean I did not love you
Because for me
Love is complete care for the other person
love means I care about your mental health and your sleep schedule and your grades and your work
because love to me means
that every aspect of your health and well-being is my top priority
So as much as I want
to let you worry about yourself in your own time
I can't talk to you at 11:30 p.m. when you have an essay due at midnight
I can't sit next to you while we study
if I know
you'll spend that whole time trying to get my attention
I can't let you sleep over
when I watch you play on your phone for the two hours we set aside for studying
and you have a test tomorrow
Because I can't love you
And not care for you...
If what you want
Is a relationship
that will distract you from all of your other priorities
You should be with someone else
You should not date me
I can not give that to you
I can not
And I will not
Be a part of a toxic relationship
Whether it is toxic to me or to you.
The kind of relationship I can have
is one where we help each other get through our day
and get through our tasks
and when the day is over
we can escape with each other
-to each other-
to our own little world
(Meant to be read in the voice of a child)
Grandma says, that she grew up in the water
She says that she lived on the edge of a place called Myrtle Beach
That she could drive 15 minutes and then jump into the sea
She says- that the smell of sea salt and seagrass is the smell of home
And that she can still hear the sounds of crashing waves on an empty beach
She says that the best feeling was sinking under a wave and watching the crisp clear current pull the water over her--
I told her that I went to a beach too!
Momma took me back to where she used to live
To get to the beach we had to cross two bigggg rivers
Grandma said that one of those was a creek when she was my age.
That men dug the other-- by hand a long time ago 90 feet across
But they are much bigger now!
I told Grandma that when I got to the beach, there were a bunch of buildings, right there in the water
I said it was silly of people to leave buildings in the water like that.
I asked-- if we tried to keep those buildings out of the water
And she said no...
I asked-- if we knew they were gonna get so wet
Grandma said-- that we knew since the 1950’s
She told me about a scientist named Edward Teller
Who gave a big speech to the important people
He predicted the future in 1959
And told them the ice was going to melt.
I asked why we let it melt...
and then grandma got real quiet...
...I’ve-- seen pictures of the ice in school.
--We learned about polar bears and penguins
We even went to visit them in the zoo
My teacher said they only live in zoos now.
We learned-- that they are animals that look
kind-of like rocks
-Or like plants!
-Or like jellyfish!
We learned that fish like to live there-
Fish like the ones in NEMO!
My teacher said there’s not much coral left...
why the coral at the aquarium
didn’t look all bright and colorful like the movies
I asked-- why there were no Nemo’s in the aquarium
I asked-- what that big ocean current was called
I asked-- if sea turtles still ride in the E..ast Austra...lian current
She said that the Clown fish died when the coral was bleached
-And there aren’t many sea turtles
-And there is no more current
-Because the waters are too warm
I asked how the water got so warm,
I asked-- Who Did It!
She said Everyone
And I didn’t understand that
I asked grandma if she did it!
She said yes-I said How
She said every time she drove her car
And every time she flew on an airplane
And every time she used a plastic cup
She released carbon into the environment
I asked how all those things made carbon
She said that carbon comes from burning things
She said that we burn things to make energy
I asked if we could make good energy
She said that we can
We can use water, wind, and sunlight to make
I asked if we made clean energy
Grandma said that only 15% of our energy was clean
I asked how carbon made the water hot
Grandma told me that when carbon goes into the air
It traps heat near the earth
Kind-of like a blanket
And it makes the air warmer
She said that the ocean
and the ocean animals
try really hard to absorb the carbon,
But too much carbon is bad for them
I asked why it was so bad
She said that carbon was an acid
And when the ocean absorbs the carbon,
The ocean becomes more aaa-cidic
And most fish can’t live in a-cidic water
I remember learning that plankton
can’t live in acidic water either
My teacher said that plankton are very important
They make oxygen
And they feed the fishes
I even heard they used to make the water green
I told grandma
about the field trip my class took to the Smithsonian
There was a new shellfish exhibit
The teacher said
that everything in the room was extinct or endangered
There were *****- and oysters- and corals
The sign said that-
“these shells can’t form in acidic water”
I asked the teacher if ***** and oysters and things were important
She said that they were an ess...ential-
Source of food for coastal communities
I asked if they were so ess...ential--
than why didn’t we protect them…
She told me that some people tried to help
She said people talked about it
and bought less plastic
And supported sus...tan...iable companies
She said that there weren’t enough of those people
I asked-- what could have protected them
She said-- that poli...ticians and CEOs could have protected them
She said-- that if there were laws
restricting or banning fossil fuels
Or carbon emissions
We could have kept the ***** alive
I asked why the poli...ticians didn’t make those laws
She said that the poli...ticians were good friends
With the oil companies
She said that if they made those laws
Their friends would lose money
But that doesn’t make sense because-
Grandma told me
We ended up spending more money
Reacting to climate change
Than it would have taken
To prevent climate change.
I just don’t understand so much--
It doesn’t make sense...
I wanna know why there’s more plastic in the ocean than fish
I wanna know why we wear air masks when we go outside
I wanna know why there are so many hurricanes
I wanna know why your old house is underwater
I wanna know what waves looked like without trash in them
I wanna know why lady liberty is drowning
I wanna know what hawaii was
I wanna know why california is on fire
And why Charleston doesn’t exist
I wanna know why there’s no coral
I wanna know why there are so many wars over food
I wanna know why we’re out of water
I wanna know why there are walls in the ocean
I wanna know why you didn’t listen to the scientists---
I wanna know why you didn’t do anything to fix it!
I thought this was a compelling way to discuss climate change because of the emotional tie. I hopped writing this poem from the voice of a child (and more specifically the future grandchild of mine or of the reader’s) would make the reader think about how their climate impact will affect their own children and children's children. Hopefully this could cause readers who wouldn’t normally be concerned with climate change to empathize with the writing. Using the voice of a child also helped me to tie in so many different topics (because children are so scatterbrained). I hope this is able to reach a larger demographic than the typical climate change essay or journal. (ps. I based this off of 50 years in the future just for reference to accuracy).
I thought I was home
But now I feel like home is curled up next to you
I miss your skin on my skin
It feels like home
I can still taste the kisses you left on my lips
Tonight before bed I will pray that they never go away
And I will slip into dream with the memories of today held softly on my tongue
Death brought my family together
In some ways
We're Kinder to each other
We say I love you more
We talk more
But not about us
Its always about you
It's been a couple of months since the cousins and I have spoken about anything other than the funeral
Where were you when you got the call?
What were you doing?
How did you react?
You thought it was a joke at first?
Really you wanted it to be a joke!
Who did you tell?
How fast did you drive?
What did she look like when you saw her?
Do you remember the last thing she said to you?
Has she said anything to you since--?
Death brought my family together
But not in a way I would like
Know that you are beautiful!